The master clutch cylinder can be found in vehicles with manual transmission. This transmission component is connected to the clutch pedal and contributes to smooth gear changes. The clutch master cylinder is the heart of the clutch system.
When you press the pedal, the master cylinder builds up the pressure, using the concept of hydraulics. Given the nature of hydraulics and the frequent use of the cylinder, it is no surprise that the clutch master cylinder wears out in time.
Signs of a Bad Master Clutch Cylinder
Due to its frequent use, the master cylinder can wear out. The fluid inside may leak, and problems may occur when depressing the clutch pedal and ultimately when shifting gears. Usually, a defective master clutch cylinder causes problems that can be easily detected and repaired by a mechanic.
1. Leaking Clutch Fluid
It is often assumed that a car is useless without the numerous fluids that work in its system. If one of the fluids is affected, i.e. reaches critical levels, your car may behave strangely. The same applies to the clutch fluid, which ensures that you can shift gears effortlessly: if it gets too low or too dirty, your entire clutch system could deteriorate. Dirt getting into the fluid is not a very common occurrence, but it can happen if the small rubber seals inside the master cylinder break into pieces due to overuse. These rubber fragments break into small fragments that mix with the fluid. In addition, these fragments can sometimes clog the clutch fluid reservoir, making it impossible to operate the clutch for shifting.
2. Difficulty Shifting Gears
As soon as the function of the clutch fails, the transmission is the next affected system. The clutch helps you to shift gears, and without it, you will either not be able to shift at all or you will have difficulty doing so. The main clutch cylinder ensures that the hydraulic pressure is maintained throughout the shifting process. So if it fails, it will not produce the right pressure and you will have trouble shifting. However, the same symptom can also occur if you have little transmission fluid available. As we’ve already said, the car is filled with different types of fluids. It is quite possible that the transmission fluid will leak and you are worried that the clutch master cylinder is leaking. Therefore, always consult a mechanic if you experience even the slightest difficulty in shifting gears in your manual car. Automatic cars do not normally have such problems with the transmission.
3. Clutch Pedal Acting Unusually
Ultimately, the failure of a clutch master cylinder affects the clutch pedal. The clutch pedal is the place where you can feel the effects of a failing clutch master cylinder. This can lead to two main problems. Either the fluid level is low and you feel that the clutch is very soft, in which case you should change the clutch fluid, or the clutch fluid level is completely used up, which means that your clutch pedal will not come up again after you press it. Both problems are quite serious by nature and require the immediate attention of a certified mechanic. Always remember not to put off any repairs, otherwise, the problem may get worse.
Cleaning and Repairing the Master Clutch Cylinder
The best way to improve the functions of a mechanical car part, such as the master clutch cylinder, is to clean it carefully, especially if the part is contaminated. The clutch master cylinder, as mentioned above, may be contaminated by a broken rubber seal. To clean it, you will need a number of amenities such as tools and cleaning equipment.
Things you will need
Remove the Master Clutch Cylinder
Removing the clutch cylinder is a little bit difficult because it is located in the lower part of the engine compartment. To get to it, you have to slide under the car after lifting it with the help of a jack and some proven jack stands. Normally the average person is not skilled enough to find or remove a clutch master cylinder. But if you really want to do this work yourself, it is better to learn the job from a mechanic first. For newcomers this is the best choice; others who have learned this art already can remove the clutch master cylinder from the bottom of the car. Be careful, there is also a slave clutch cylinder in the same area. You should not confuse this while removing the master cylinder from the setup.
Use Aerosol Cleaner
Any aerosol cleaner will work perfectly when cleaning the entire cylinder. Be sure to first disassemble its parts and wash them with clean water before attempting to use the cleaner. When you are finished cleaning each crack in the cylinder, add new rubber seals and allow the part to dry. When dry, begin reassembly.
Reinstall the Brake Cylinder
To reinstall the master clutch cylinder, you or your mechanic must repeat the same procedure that you used to remove the cylinder component from the vehicle.
Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement Cost
The main clutch cylinder can disintegrate due to constant use and careless repair work. In such cases, repair is not possible. Then you have no other choice than to obtain a spare part. Spare parts can be expensive and cheap, but it all depends on the make and model of your car and the availability of the part on the market. You can always exclude the possibility of replacement if you are a regular visitor to the car mechanic. Those of you who hesitate before going to get your car repaired may have to pay a high price in the form of spare parts later.
Normally a brand new master clutch cylinder costs $100 – $200 and in addition to the price of the spare part, you have to pay labor costs. The labor costs depend on the mechanic. If he is a certified mechanic, he has earned the right to charge you exorbitant amounts. On average, you could expect to be charged $80 – $100 in labor costs.
Hello I’m Magnus, the owner and the writer of this website. I have been working with cars since I was 16 and I’m specialized with in-depth Automotive diagnostics. Also been driving drifting for the last 6 years. I’m here to give you answers to all your automotive questions and I hope that you enjoy our content.